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Washington State volleyball glance

• 4A-3A-2A, Toyota Center, Kennewick

• 1A-2B-1B, Yakima Sun Dome

Class 4A, Thurs.-Fri.

Defending state champion Mead, holding seven state titles, is making its 21st overall state appearance. It completes first round of competition against Kentwood at 10:30 this morning in a tournament that returns 10 teams, six of them placers, including last year’s runner-up Curtis. The Panthers, ranked third by state coaches, defeated No. 1 Richland for the regional championship. Skyview of Vancouver and Jackson are among the state favorites. “You have to do four good ones (games),” Mead coach Judy Kight said. “It gets tougher all the time. But I have faith in the girls.”

Class 3A, Fri.-Sat.

Last year’s runner-up, Mt. Spokane, is going out to dinner Thursday night to celebrate before state. “Sometimes we get too caught up in the winning and losing and do not celebrate enough the journey we took together,” coach John Reid said. That said, Reid has a competitive state team. The Wildcats are in a half-bracket that features seven of the 11 returning state teams, four of them placers. They begin at 3 p.m. Friday against state veteran Capital with a potential meeting next against last year’s fourth-place finisher Seattle Prep. Ranked first in state by coaches, Mt. Spokane lost in the regional final to No. 3 West Valley-Yakima. Defending champion Bishop Blanchet is in the field. No. 2-ranked Camas and Kennedy Catholic are other title contenders. “Camas is talking on blogs how they want us bad,” Reid said. “I want to do well in our first match.”

Class 2A, Fri.-Sat.

Defending champion Pullman, making its eighth straight state trip, and returning seventh-placer West Valley represent the Great Northern League. Six state-placing teams return, including favorites Burlington-Edison and Fife. Pullman, ranked just eighth this year among coaches, won the regional tournament beating third-ranked Selah along the way. Led by Shelby Cheslek, Stephanie Logan, Jenny Nakata and setter Kara Weitz, the Greyhounds play Interlake at 9:30 a.m. Friday. WV’s Eagles, fourth in regional, losing twice after Shaniqua Nilles injured her ankle in game one, are on the same bracket side as Pullman (along with third-place Black Hills) and happy to be there. “Our best matches this year were each time we played (Pullman),” WV coach Drew Wendle said. “We hope to bring some hardware home.” Nilles and Hannah Love up front, plus libero Mallory Schoesler, key the GNL- and district-champion Eagles, who beat Pullman in two of three five-game matches this year. They open at 8 a.m. against White River.

Class 1A, Fri.-Sat

Colville and Newport represent the Northeast A League. The Indians were eighth in State 2A last year and beat 1A runner-up Chelan for the regional championship last weekend. Chelan and Colville were ranked 1-2, respectively, by the coaches’ poll. Newport, making its 19th state tourney, is back for the first time since 2000. Ten state-qualifying teams return, six of them placers. Lynden-Christian and Castle Rock are other contenders. Colville plays La Salle at 8:30 a.m. Friday and Newport faces defending state champ King’s at 3:30 p.m.

Class 2B, Fri.-Sat.

Returning state finalists Colfax and Northwest Christian are back along with district finalist Reardan. But Bear Creek and Toutle Lake, ranked ahead of all three at No. 1 and No. 2 in the state coaches’ poll, are potential quarterfinal foes for the latter two Bi-County League teams. Ten teams, five of them placers, return. Reardan opens with Adna at 9 a.m., the Crusaders play La Conner at 10:30. Colfax, winner of the last two state titles and four straight 1A titles before that, hopes that youth can be served. “We had some positions to fill and two freshmen are out there,” coach Sue Doering said. “We had to grow a lot this season.” Colfax plays Mt. Vernon Christian at noon.

Class 1B, Thurs.-Fri.

Neither of last year’s state finalists is in the field, but 11 others, five of them placers, are – Colton (third), Klickitat (fourth), Northport (fifth), Tekoa- Oakesdale (fifth, 2B), Almira/Coulee-Hartline (sixth). ACH beat Wilbur-Creston for the District 7 title and T-O topped Colton in District 9. Pomeroy, also down from 2B, joins the field. Colton has drawn top-ranked Christian Faith at noon today. ACH plays Neah Bay at 10 a.m., and it’s Northport vs. Tekoa-Oakesdale (noon) and Pomeroy vs. Wilbur-Creston (10 a.m.).

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